It’s a new year and by now you should have completed your 2018 marketing strategy. If you’re ducking down in your chair because you haven’t, it’s okay, it’s not too late. If you have, great!
The marketing world is ever-evolving. Ten years ago, social was not a major component of the marketing plan and Facebook ads were not even an option. As the world changes, so does how we reach our customers. We are more mobile, more wired, in the technology-sense. When was the last time you went 24 hours without your smartphone? I honestly cannot remember myself.
Last year, social advertising took over, as did video. This year, those two will continue to dominate, but there are other creative ways to reach your customers – and stay in touch in with them as well. I’ve read article after article about the predictions and trends for 2018 and guys, what it comes down to is that businesses are going to have to get more creative – and more out of the box – as our digital world evolves. Before you throw your papers in the air and scream “it’s too much!”, it’s not. It’s not that hard. Really. I’ve put together nine ideas you probably have not thought of to incorporate into your strategy this year.
Install a chatbot to help with your Facebook page.
Facebook Messenger Chatbots are relatively easy to program and can help you respond to your messages while you are away or helping a customer. Facebook reported late last year they now see 100,000 monthly active bots on Messenger! These can help provide instant connections with customers, solving problems and helping with orders. It also alleviates the problem of the customer having to wait for a response when most expect a response within an hour.
Give LinkedIn another chance.
This is one I saw everywhere. The networking platform has undergone many changes since being bought by Microsoft. Included is an updated newsfeed and user interface. There’s not a lot of competition on the platform right now, and a weak algorithm, so it’s a perfect storm of opportunity. Plus there is a mindset change across professionals. They are tired of the nonsense in their other social feeds, so many are going back to LinkedIn.
Personalize the experience.
Personalization is something you will not stop hearing about. From emails to VIP exclusives, give your customers and clients a unique experience when shopping or working with you. 56% would rather buy from someone that recognizes them by name, and 58% from someone who offers recommendations based on past purchases. In the retail world, this is the big push as a lot of brick-and-mortar business is being lost to online stores. However, if you do this, make sure your personalization is genuine. Read more on that here.
Tell your story.
Customers and clients come to you for a reason – it could be for your work, a price-point, or something they saw. Let them get to know you by telling your story through your branding and marketing strategies. It’s what makes up the core of who your business is. Use your story throughout your marketing – social posts, blog posts, ads.
Have a plan for dark social.
If you haven’t heard of dark social, here’s what you need to know – it’s the conversations happening in private (think Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, Instagram DMs, WhatsApp, etc.). There is another world out there that you can’t reach entirely. Facebook is slowly rolling out Messenger Ads which will help, but make sure you know how to be a part of those conversations. My friend and mentor Mark Schaefer touched on this in his digital trends for 2018 post. The graph below that he shared showed how more people are going ‘dark’ –
Go with the group – Facebook Groups.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Facebook organic reach is down and it’s not going to come back up. You are going to have to run ads. You are going to have to get creative. You do still need your page though! Fortunately, Facebook now allows you to create groups through your Page – and here is where the potential starts. You can create a group for insider perks or for just general discussion. The engagement in these are much higher – but they do require more moderation and attention so make sure you have someone reliable manning them!
Use text messages in your marketing.
One of the key reasons why SMS (text) marketing is so popular is the fact it is such an accessible and widespread way of contacting people. 98% of text messages are read within two minutes and more than 1 in 10 text exchanges in the U.S. are with businesses. This is an avenue that not a lot of businesses are using – and something you may want to consider! Here are two examples from businesses that I receive texts from below:
Survey your customers.
Always check in with your customers to see if there are areas you can improve, enhance, or even add! Your customers will (hopefully) give you honest feedback. Entice them for this information with a reward for a higher chance of engagement. Just be careful of Facebook’s updated Engagement Rules if you use a post on Facebook to do this.
Take advantage of the growth of video and go LIVE! Host a Q&A, broadcast from events, give a sneak peek of an upcoming product, or just take people behind the scenes of the business. Businesses are jumping on this – and 2017 saw a huge growth in this area so there are a lot of ideas out there! This is something that can be done on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
See? Any of these nine can be done no matter your level of marketing expertise
No matter what you decide to do this year, challenge yourself to be creative and go outside the box. Forget about the competition and just do you. Focus on your customers and provide the absolute best you can! And if you need help, we’re here anytime!
Which of these nine are you going to try?